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SIMMONS: D.C.’s social conservatives deserve a voice

- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 28, 2010

Missy Reilly Smith knew going into the race for a congressional seat that she faced several uphill challenges.

First of all, she's taking on Eleanor Holmes Norton, a beloved D.C. liberal of Republicans, Democrats and independents. Second, Mrs. Smith is a Republican running in a city whose voters think GOP stands for Grand Old Patriarchs. And then there's her uncompromising pro-life stance.

Liberals and some Republicans relish in calling such people anti-abortionists, not that Mrs. Smith cares. She calls them baby killers and RINOs (Republicans in name only).

Mrs. Smith is running because she wants to exorcise the lethargy from the city's electorate and push it to think before it votes.

Indeed, that is Mrs. Smith's biggest challenge since D.C. Republicans are morphing into Democrats.

Unlike her female counterparts, whether that be Maxine Waters or Connie Morella, Michele Bachmann or Donna Edwards, Mrs. Smith does not have the backing of her party.

Her battle for the ballot is as much a culture war as it is a gender war.

Men, who control the D.C. Republican Party, do not have abortions, and men often walk out of their children's lives after a woman chooses life.

For their part, D.C. Republicans are urging their party cohorts to write in a Democrat in the mayor's race.

Go figure.

Blessedly, Mrs. Smith won the primary, garnering 1,919 votes, or 87 percent of the Republican ballots cast on Sept. 14.

Yet, leading up to the primary, there were more than 29,700 registered Republicans, but only 2,645 of them, or 8.9 percent, bothered to even show up at the polls.

Despite the D.C. Republican Party's rejection of her and her traditional-values platform out of hand, Mrs. Smith and her supporters will continue courting voters — and they are especially beholden to residents East of the Anacostia River.

Many of you are familiar with that geographical term, which is often used as the cultural divide to distinguish the haves from the have-nots.

East of the river also is a largely black traditional-values stronghold, where same-sex marriage doesn't play well, and where teens and young women are choosing life instead of abortion.

Mrs. Smith said she is outraged that the D.C. GOP is not on her side, and, well, she should be.

The lack of vocal opposition to policies and programs that are sustaining vicious cycles of poverty, government largesse and lawlessness speaks volumes, and more so since conservatives and Republicans lost control of the House and Senate.

D.C. Democrats have overwhelmingly outnumbered Republicans since President Nixon signed off on the city's home-rule law in 1973. But whatever happened to moral consciousness?

Doling out dollars for social services can in no political form replace the urgent need for a moral compass.

Sure, we can fall into the trap that faith and religion have no place in politics. But that's the wimp's way out of any moral argument.

The city's congressional seat has become nothing more than a hierarchical accomplice to the anti-social conservatism that is holding D.C. residents hostage.

D.C. conservatives and Republicans deserve a voice in Congress. Unfortunately, that voice is resonated by lawmakers and policymakers who don't even live in the nation's capital. To be sure, members of Congress reside here part time because they work in the U.S. Capitol. But they do live here.

That's why D.C. folks get so riled when federal legislation regarding abortion, gun rights, marriage, medical marijuana, needle-exchange programs and the like are on voters' radar screens.

RINOs and liberals want Congress to hear, see or speak no evils against the District.

Mrs. Smith says we should face Washington's wicked ways eyeball to eyeball. After all, politicians who don't stand for something will fall for anything.

Vote on Nov. 2.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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